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Electric car statistics - data and projections

Phill Tromans

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Phill Tromans

Electric car stats & projections

The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing, but not as fast as expected, according to the latest vehicle stats. Electric car sales increased by 17.8% in 2023 and EVs enjoyed another record year with more than one in ten new vehicles being electric. 

The proportion of electric cars within the wider used car market is only going one way – up. 

Overall, 1.9 million new cars were registered in 2023 – a figure 17.9% up on 2022 due to the easing of the global semiconductor chip shortage. To get more detail, our guide to car sales stats explains all. 

More battery electric vehicles (BEV) were sold in 2023 than ever before with 314,687 registrations (16.5% of all new car sales), while plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) made up 7.4% or 141,311 cars. Electric car sales are now second only to petrol cars in the UK.

Used electric car sales

Demand for used electric cars is growing, too. 2023 saw used EV sales increased by 37.5%, while there are an estimated 975,000 electric cars on the road in the UK and 590,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In December 2023, while new car sales overall where up on the same time last year, electric car sales saw a drop of 34.2%. However, the SMMT attributed this to above-average sales in 2022 in the wake of supply chain disruption. 

As a comparison, there were just 4,891 diesel cars registered in December 2023 – a mere 3.5% market share. 

Alongside EVs, 2023 has seen an increase in the number of self-charging hybrid cars, up 27.1% on 2022 with 238,942 registrations. The number of PHEV (plug-in hybrid cars) is up too, by 39.3% year-on-year with 141,311 registrations.

Is it a good time to buy an EV?

The growth of the EV market is expected to accelerate in the coming years as the UK prepares itself for the 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales. However, following a big investment in the UK’s charging infrastructure, we still think there has never been a better time to buy a new or used EV. 

In 2024 EVs will outsell every type of fuel except petrol, which is set to remain the most popular fuel choice for used car buyers for the next few years. Diesel is expected to become a niche choice over time as drivers opt for cleaner and cheaper plug-in alternatives.

There’s been a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles on sale in the UK with manufacturers scrambling to offer as many models as possible with plug-in variants. Carmakers like Nissan, Tesla, Ford and Vauxhall have all expanded their model line ups to include affordable plug-in models and EVs. Premium carmaker Volkswagen has gone one step further and created the electric-only ID. range while Mercedes-Benz has created its innovative Mercedes-EQ models. See our guides for the best electric cars or the cheapest electric cars for more.

Our electric car statistics report takes a monthly look at the latest trends that are affecting the EV market. From charging stations and infrastructure to units sold and growth rates, this is your one-stop-shop for the latest electric car statistics, data and facts. Click the links below to jump to the section you need. 

(Source: DfT, SMMT) 

Browse our used electric cars for sale

If an electric car is right for you and your needs, we have a range of used electric cars to suit all budgets. From small cars to SUVs, you're bound to find the right used electric car for you. 

Key electric car stats and figures

  • A typical electric car will take eight hours to charge from empty at a 'fast' 7kW charge point
  • Many electric cars are compatible with 'rapid' 50kW chargers, which adds 100 miles in around 35 minutes  
  • As of the end of 2023, there are 53,906 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK. Of these, 10,497 are rapid EV chargers
  • In the UK, Scotland has the highest number of EV charging devices per 100,000 of the population (77), followed by England (68.7), Wales (66) and Northern Ireland (22.6). (Figures accurate to the end of October 2023)
  • 2023 was the best year for new electric car sales with 314,687 new EV registrations – up from 267,204 in 2022.
  • Electric cars accounted for 17.8% of all new car registrations in 2023. Petrol was the most popular fuel choice, with a 40.7% market share 
  • The original Nissan Leaf was the first EV to enjoy mainstream success. Launched in 2011, the Leaf combined family car practicality with a maximum range of 100 miles
  • The Mercedes-Benz EQS has the best maximum EV range in 2024, covering up to 452 miles on a single charge
  • The Tesla Model Y is the best-selling electric car in the world, and also the best-selling electric car in the UK in 2023, with 35,899 sales
  • It's probably no surprise, then, that the Tesla Model Y is currently the best-selling electric car in the UK as of December 2023

(source: DfT, SMMT, Gov.uk, Office for Low Emission Vehicles, Statista, Pod Point, HonestJohn.co.uk, ZapMap)

What is an electric vehicle?

Electric cars (sometimes referred to as electric vehicles or EVs) are battery-powered vehicles that run on electricity 100% of the time. Unlike petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles, electric cars do not have a combustion engine; instead, electric cars use an electric motor and a rechargeable battery.

A typical electric car will travel between 100 - 200 miles on a single charge, while premium models like the Tesla Model S or the Polestar 2 are capable of covering around 300 miles before you will be asked to plug the car in for a recharge. The Mercedes EQS claims to manage 452 miles on a single charge.

What are the different types of electric vehicles?

The term 'electric vehicle' is applied to a range of cars. Not all of these vehicles are pure electric. In fact, some 'electric vehicles' will actually be hybrids, using a petrol or diesel engine alongside an electric motor and plug-in battery. 

  • Pure electric vehicles (EVs) - These cars are powered by an electric battery only and typically have a range of 100 - 200 miles
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) - Unlike EVs, plug-in hybrid vehicles are powered by a combination of electricity and fossil fuel (petrol or diesel). PHEVs have a smaller battery than pure electric cars, which means they have a maximum EV range of 15 - 30 miles. When the battery is empty the combustion engine will power the vehicle until the battery is recharged again
  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) - Hybrid vehicles can only be driven a few miles on pure electricity. A hybrid car has no plug, instead, it recovers energy under braking and uses it to recharge its battery on the move.

How do electric vehicles work?

Unlike their petrol and diesel counterparts, electric vehicles are not powered by an internal combustion engine. Instead, the wheels are driven by one or more electric motors, which are powered by a battery that is recharged via a plug on the car. 

As with petrol and diesel cars, the advertised range of an EV varies depending on driving style. Weather conditions can also impact the range of an electric car, along with the use of in-car heating and air conditioning. 

Electric cars feature smart energy recovery tech, which automatically tops up the battery by converting kinetic energy into electricity (when braking or travelling down a hill).

Recharging the battery in an electric car can be a lengthy process – most EVs will require eight or nine hours for a full charge from a 7kW wallbox. However, most electric vehicles have a 'rapid charge' function that uses a higher voltage to charge the battery to 80% of its charge in around 40 minutes.

Best New and Used Car Deals

Whether you're looking to buy a new or used electric car, we've got all the best PCP and leasing deals all in one place. 

The best-selling electric cars (EVs) in 2023

These are the top 5 best-selling electric cars in 2023.

  1. Tesla Model Y (35,899)
  2. MG4 (21,715)
  3. Audi Q4 e-tron (16,757)
  4. Tesla Model 3 (13,536)
  5. Polestar 2 (12,542)
  6. Volkswagen ID.3 (10,295)
  7. Kia Niro EV (10,084)
  8. BMW i4 (8940)
  9. Volkswagen ID.4 (8495)
  10. Skoda Enyaq (8136)

The best-selling electric cars (EVs) in 2022

The Tesla Model Y was the best-selling electric car in 2022, replacing the Tesla Model 3 which lead the way in 2021. 

  1. Tesla Model Y (35,551)
  2. Tesla Model 3 (19,071)
  3. Kia e-Niro (11,197)
  4. VW ID.3 (9832)
  5. Nissan Leaf (9178)
  6. MINI Electric (7425)
  7. Polestar 2 (7345)
  8. MG5 (7030)
  9. BMW i4 (6699)
  10. Audi Q4 e-tron (6594)

(Source: SMMT)

Electric vehicle sales statistics

How many electric vehicles have been sold in the UK?

Number of new electric cars sold in the UK by year

Year

    • 2023
    • 2022
    • 2021
    • 2020
    • 2019
    • 2018

Number of new electric car registrations (source: SMMT)

    • 314,687
    • 267,203
    • 190,727
    • 108,205
    • 37,850
    • 15,510

How many battery electric vehicles have been sold month-by-month in 2023 so far?

Number of new electric cars sold in the UK by month in 2023

Month

    • January
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December

Number of new electric car registrations (source: SMMT)

    • 17,294
    • 12,310
    • 46,626
    • 20,522
    • 24,513
    • 31,700
    • 23,010
    • 17,243
    • 45,323
    • 23,943
    • 24,359
    • 27,841

How many battery electric vehicles have been sold month-by-month in 2022?

Number of new electric cars sold in the UK by month in 2022

Month

    • January
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December

Number of new electric car registrations (source: SMMT)

    • 14,433
    • 10,417
    • 39,315
    • 12,899
    • 15,448
    • 22,737
    • 12,243
    • 10,006
    • 38,116
    • 19,933
    • 29,372
    • 42,284

How many battery electric vehicles have been sold month-by-month in 2021?

Number of new electric cars sold in the UK by month in 2021

Month

    • January
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December

Number of new electric car registrations (source: SMMT)

    • 6,260
    • 3,516
    • 22,003
    • 9,152
    • 13,120
    • 19,842
    • 11,139
    • 7,388
    • 32,721
    • 16,155
    • 21,726
    • 27,705

How does the UK compare to the European Union for electric car sales?

The UK has the second largest plug-in car market in Europe, with 368,617 sales in 2022. Germany has the most plug-in electric vehicle sales with 673,747. France is the third biggest with 303,501 (source: Statista)

How do electric car sales compare to new car sales overall in the UK? 

Despite their increasing popularity, electric cars accounted for around 17.8% of all new cars sold in the UK in 2023. Petrol was the most popular fuel type with a 40.7% market share (774,484 new car sales) with diesel taking a 3.8% share or 71,501 cars (excluding hybrids). 

When will all cars be electric in the UK?

All new cars and vans sold in the UK must be fully electric by 2035 – five years later than originally planned. The sale of new cars and vans powered entirely by petrol and diesel engines will be banned from 2035, while hybrids sales will also been banned from 2035. 

(Source: SMMT, DfT)

MINI Electric Review 2023 charging

How many electric car charging stations are there in the UK?

Charging infrastructure in the UK is growing at a rapid rate with new charging points being added daily. According to the latest charging station stats, there are 53,906 EV charging points in the UK, as at the end of 2023. These devices provide 82,554 electric car charging connectors. 

How many electric car charging locations are there in the UK?

There are 31,056 EV charging locations in the UK. This number includes devices that are classed as slow (3-5kW), fast (7-22kW), rapid (25-99kW) and ultra-rapid (100kW). The UK has 5179 rapid charging locations with access to 10,497 rapid charging devices as at the end of 2023. 

In addition, EV drivers can park and charge their cars at private locations through platforms like YourParkingSpace.co.uk. It currently has over 5000 private spaces at 1,736 locations on its platform for EV drivers. 

(Source: Zap Map, YourParkingSpace.co.uk)

How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle at home?

Top 10 best-selling electric vehicles (2022) and home charging costs

Electric car

    • Tesla Model 3 Long Range
    • Kia e-Niro (2021 model)
    • VW ID.3 Pro
    • Nissan Leaf e+
    • Audi e-tron 55
    • Hyundai Kona Electric
    • MINI Electric
    • Renault Zoe EV.50
    • Vauxhall Corsa-e 
    • MG ZS EV Long Range

Battery capacity (useable)

    • 76kWh
    • 64kWh
    • 58kWh
    • 59kWh
    • 86.5kWh
    • 64kWh
    • 28.9kWh
    • 52kWh
    • 45kWh
    • 68.3kWh

Electricity cost (28p/kWh)

    • £21.28
    • £17.92
    • £16.24
    • £16.52
    • £24.22
    • £17.92
    • £8.09
    • £14.56
    • £12.60
    • £19.12

Electricity cost (34p/kWh)

    • £25.84
    • £21.76
    • £19.72
    • £20.06
    • £29.41
    • £21.76
    • £9.82
    • £17.68
    • £15.30
    • £23.22

According to the latest vehicle stats, the electric car market is still strong. EV car sales increased by 17.8% in 2023, and there are an estimated 975,000 electric cars (EVs) on the road in the UK and over 590,000 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), as of the end of 2023.

In 2023, 314,687 new electric cars were registered in the UK, while 267,204 EVs were registered in 2022. 

It is estimated that between 2% and 3% of cars in the UK are electric or hybrid, but this percentage is increasing all the time as electric cars enjoy a growing share of new car registrations.